With the approaching holiday season, it’s time to give yourself, and those you love, the gift of healthy meals.
Most individuals, specifically in the U.S., consume high fat meals during the holidays, never considering the health-depleting affects and potentially life-threatening consequences. Ah! Those gravies, sauces, butter and desserts can set-up individuals for an event that just the name makes the hair on your arms stand to attention.
Heart attacks seldom happen without some kind of warning. They are often explained by medical history, including high cholesterol or high blood pressure, or by family history of heart disease. But can they also be explained by external circumstances; time of year or time of day. Are there certain occasions that pose greater risk for those with excessive stress, heart disease, diabetes, or obesity? Absolutely!
Reducing Your Risks, Naturally
Lipase is an enzyme used by the body to break down dietary fats into an absorbable form, facilitating absorption within the intestines by breaking them down into fatty acids and glycerol.
Lipase is important in maintaining optimum cell permeability, which allows nutrients to flow easily into the cells and wastes to flow out. Two conditions arising from lipase deficiency are diabetes and glucosuria (sugar in the urine without symptoms of diabetes). Most people associate diabetes with sugar intolerance, but fat intolerance is the major enzyme culprit—the inability to digest fat interferes with insulin metabolism and the transport of glucose into the cell by insulin.
Most of the body’s lipase is manufactured in the pancreas, although some is secreted in the saliva as well. Individuals with pancreatic insufficiency, cystic fibrosis, celiac, or Crohn’s disease, and indigestion in general, are most likely deficient in pancreatic enzymes including lipase.
This valuable enzyme is usually included in a complex formula of digestive enzymes. That said, those with conditions mentioned in this article would benefit by taking additional individual lipase with each meal, especially those containing high fat.
Think of your body as a processing unit. If you cannot retrieve enough nutrients from the food you take in, your body receives a signal that it needs to store more fat against the threat of starvation and holds on to even more fat in reaction. It will also send a signal that you need to take in more food. This can result in a vicious cycle of eating more and more, and still always feeling hungry. The right digestive enzyme formula can stop this kind of triggered response and help your body normalize, as well as helping the body deal with high fat meals.
Lipase interferes with Orlistat (Xenical, Alli)—Orlistat is used to treat obesity by blocking lipase from breaking down fats so the body doesn’t absorb them.
The following recipes are my contribution to helping you lower your fat and calorie intake while maintaining the flavor and joy of the season’s delicacies—adding Lipase to your meals helps reduce the risks mentioned previously.
These party staples used for dipping look so innocent, however, just one straw packs a third of your daily limit for saturated fat! Instead, snack on carrot/celery or jicama sticks, organic popcorn, or even a few vegetable chips with fruit salsa. And, if you really want to do your arteries (and taste buds) a favor, serve this fat-free salsa, which boasts 2 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber without vegetables in the nightshade family that accelerate inflammation.
Dr. G’s Healthy Fruit Salsa
Ingredients: (yield 12)
- 5 kiwis, peeled and diced
- 1 quart strawberries, finely chopped
- 1 pint fresh raspberries, chopped
- 1–2 large mangoes, chopped
- 1–2 papayas, chopped
- 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and coarsely shredded
- 3/4 cup (or to taste) SweetLife™ Natural Sweetener
- 1 Tbs. ground Spicy Peppercorns
- 1/3 cup lime juice
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 yellow onion, chopped VERY fine
Note: You can use any fruit.
Preparation: Place all ingredients in a bowl, stir and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
This tempting classic may seem harmless. However, lurking within each ball can be a whopping 400 calories of white bread, butter, heavy cream, and sodium-laden beef broth.
If you can’t resist this diet hazard, my lighter version has almost a fourth of the fat and 50 percent of the calories and sodium.
Dr. G’s Healthy Meatballs
(yield: 4 servings (serving size: 4 meatballs and 1/3 cup sauce)
- 1 c. bread crumbs (wheat/gluten-free bread or Panco-type bread crumbs)
- 1/2 pound ground chicken
- 1/2 pound ground turkey
- 3/4 tsp. salt, divided
- 2 Tbs. Braggs Amino Acids
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground spicy peppercorns
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 Tbs. coconut oil (softened)
- 1 c. fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
- 2–3 Tbs. rice flour
- 1 (8-ounce) carton fat-free sour cream
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
- 1 Tbs. finely ground Simply Organic “Grilling Seasons”
- Chicken Seasoning
- 1/2 c. finely chopped yellow onions
Place bread in a food processor until coarse crumbs measure 1 cup. Place bread crumbs in a medium bowl; set aside. Mix meat and remaining ingredients, stirring until combined. Shape mixture into 1 1/2 -inch meatballs.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs; cook 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove meatballs from pan. Add chicken broth, and flour to pan, stirring with a whisk until combined. Bring to a boil, and cook 1 minute or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Add more coconut oil if needed. Stir in sour cream, and return the meatballs to pan. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook for 10 minutes or until meatballs are done and sauce is thick. Sprinkle with parsley. Eggnog – A nutritional “bullet”
Step…away…from the eggnog. With ingredients like sugar, eggs, whipping cream, and bourbon—a nutritional bullet you should dodge. One cup has 343 calories, 150 milligrams of cholesterol, half of the USDA’s suggested daily limit, and 21 grams of sugar, almost a day’s worth. Instead, enjoy spiced cider. And if you’re really craving a creamy glass of eggnog, here’s my lighter version with unsweetened cocoa powder.
Dr. G’s South-of-the-Border NogIngredients:
- 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 cups eggnog, divided
- rum (to taste)
- brandy (to taste)
- SweetLife™ Natural Sweetener (to taste)
- Garnish: grated bittersweet chocolate
- 2–3 Tbs. corn starch, rice flour or arrow root (for thickening)
In a saucepan, gently brown the flour in coconut oil until you make a pale brown roux. Whisk together cocoa powder and 1/3 cup eggnog, add to roux and constantly whisk until thick but smooth. Whisk in the cocoa mixture and sweetener into remaining eggnog. Add rum and brandy. Serve topped with grated bittersweet chocolate.
Calories, approx. 86, Fat, 4g
Baked potatoes are rich in vitamin C and fiber—add in cheese, sour cream, and butter, and you’ve negated most of the health benefits. One medium stuffed potato has 316 calories and 8.25 grams of saturated fat. That’s almost half of your suggested daily upper limit of saturated fat.
Lighten up your potatoes by using low-fat dairy products or adding low-cal veggies like onions and spinach. Or, you can roast sweet potatoes in the oven instead; each has less than half of the calories and only 2.4 grams of total fat. And, sweet potatoes are not nightshades, therefore, they do not accelerate inflammation.
What happens when you combine healthy veggies like corn and spinach with cream, butter, and cheese? A side dish with more than 75 percent of your saturated fat for the day. Boston Market’s creamed spinach side has 280 calories (almost entirely from fat) and 15 grams of saturated fat.
If you love the creamy taste, make a healthier recipe using coconut oil, low-fat milk and light cream cheese instead of cream. This lowers the total fat per serving to 3.7 grams.
Packed with vitamins and fiber, yams are a superfood. However, candied yams are a different story. Though the savory starch is the main component of this side dish, common recipes tell you to add up to six cups of sugar before you start baking, racking up a total of 38 grams per serving. The American Heart Association suggests that added sugar intake be limited to 25 grams per day for women and 37 grams per day for men. The side also tacks on over 400 calories to your plate.
My sweet potato yam casserole is trimmed down and just right for the holidays. It has zero grams of sugar per serving, and butter is replaced with half-and-half and coconut oil, lowering the fat content.
Healthy Sweet Potato Yam Casserole
Using organic half-and-half instead of heavy cream cuts down on your fat intake.
Sweet potatoes, half-and-half, SweetLife™ natural sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, 1 oz. rum, eggs, flour, and chopped pecans. All these ingredients are in proportion to the amount of sweet potatoes used, get creative.
Holidays are an important time to connect with others and enjoy meals we don’t always take the time to prepare and share. Knowing how to protect yourself from the potential deadly affects of those fat-saturated meals is one of the foundational goals of my continued commitment of Health thru Education©, Naturally.